Tuesday, March 11, 2014

2014 Indiana Youth Art Month Remarks

My sincerest thanks to Kheira Adda, Mindy Stephenson, Sidney Allen, Terri Nagle, Bev Staub, Allie Staub and all the AEAI Youth Art Month volunteers who made this exhibition such a special event! Here are my remarks to the students, parents and citizens who attended this wonderful exhibition of Indiana K-12 drawings, paintings, collage and printmaking art display held at the South Atrium of the Indiana State Capitol!

Photo by Terri Nagle.
Good Afternoon!

I wanted to say something to you about the arts and the formation of mind, but my students at New Palestine Elementary always tell me I take up too much of their art time because I talk too much so I will try to be brief.

200 years ago, in the town of Dole, France, a boy was born to poorly educated parents. Early on, he was not very astute in academics, however, he showed an immense interest in drawing and painting. He devoted much of his early life to art and at one time considered work as a professional portrait painter. As he grew, his interests turned to science, and later he decided to use his powers of imagination in science laboratories. This former art student would go on to a spectacular career in bio-chemistry and is responsible for developing numerous scientific breakthroughs in germ theory, the science of vaccination and pasteurization. Of course I am talking about Louis Pasteur.  Pasteur credited his early art training as providing him with the capacity to envision cellular activity at microscopic levels. On the relationship of art and science Pasteur said, “The illusions of the experiment form the greater part of my power!

Art making has immense psycho-dynamic power to imbue in children the attributes of imagination, observation, intellect and perception that will serve them well into their adulthood. Think about it.The only subject in school that is a bonafide medical therapy is art. Art is powerful stuff. Art is science! 95% of the World’s top STEM professionals all have fine arts backgrounds. Art education is a good thing!

Unfortunately, I leave you today with sad news. Throughout our state, we have witnessed art programs cut and creativity development reduced in our public schools. High quality art programs are at risk across this state. Real dollars reaching Indiana classrooms have declined since 2002 by at least 20%.

If you would like to advocate for your children’s art program, I urge you to contact your legislators at IN.GOV. Send your federal legislators, send your governor and send your president a loud and clear message either by telephone or by email to adequately fund Indiana public schools and preserve fine arts programs for your children and our future. 

We cannot afford future failures of imagination! 
I thank you!

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